“Better Things:” Your Jewish and Frankly Feminist Review

But it’s all done gently, and it’s all part of a package of what women deal with all the time, as part of…life.  This is a show about life. A beautifully rendered, thoughtfully crafted, messy and beautiful (and privileged, but it doesn’t pretend otherwise) life.  About its great joys and great sadnesses, and in some finely wrought moments like a raucous karaoke car ride, the poignant sadness of the great joys of life.

At the center of this life is Sam Fox, a well-known character and voice actor who takes care of her three kids, her outrageous and not entirely competent mother, her best friend(s), her directors, and basically everyone in her life, from recent acquaintances to long-standing connections.  Profoundly empathic and charismatic, Sam gets into it with you, and Sam gets you.  And we the viewers are utterly drawn into her world.  We are captivated by these finely drawn narratives of human experience, as seen through the eyes of a women who loves hard and hates hard, but mostly, almost entirely, loves.  We’re rooting for her to release most of that hate, but maybe not all of it – we are a little bit captivated by her hard edges as much as her soft ones.

Her hate is focused basically in one direction: her ex-husband and no-show father, who consistently disappoints his daughters and justifies Sam’s righteous anger.  But—as she so often shows others – that anger is corrosive, even if it is legitimate.  This season is all about imagined futures even as it dwells lovingly in the present: and the best version of that future for Sam, a woman who insists on defining the terms of her own life and happiness and building the family she chooses, means letting that hate go.  She does, but she doesn’t forget where it came from; weaving within her story the stories of other women and insisting that they be made visible.  Always, but especially as they age.  Her beautiful daughters are always seen: this is the story of Sam and others like her also drawing our eyes.